4 policies to include in your employee handbook

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If you’ve kept your employee handbook to a minimum in the past, you might have only included basic starter policies like code of conduct, anti-discrimination efforts, compensation and benefits, and termination procedures. Keeping your handbook simple is a good goal, but not at the expense of leaving out important guidelines. If your company is growing or you’re experiencing management challenges, basic policies are not enough. Protect your employees and business by adding a comprehensive set of policies that cover more than just the basics.


Here are some HR policies you should consider including, or expanding on, in your employee handbook:

Employee fraternization

Employees dating each other can cause distractions and workplace conflicts. A formal fraternization policy can help your managers handle these sticky situations with confidence. Make it clear that the company isn’t interested in controlling your employees’ personal lives or inhibiting their interactions. The purpose of the policy is to avoid misunderstandings, conflicts of interest, complaints of favoritism, and potential claims of sexual harassment.

Common stipulations in employee dating policies:

  • Discourage workplace romances
  • Require disclosure of workplace relationships
  • If employees do become involved, they can’t report to one another, be of significantly different rank, or work in the same department
  • Couples must be professional at work – no PDA or fighting
  • Consequences for violating policies

Drug testing

Defining how, when, and why employees can be drug tested is important to include in your employee manual if you practice testing. You may want to instill a drug free workplace policy, like this sample from SHRM

Depending on your company’s location, you may also need to include accommodations or stipulations for medical marijuana use.When someone holding a medical marijuana card is fired from his or her job because of a positive drug test, they could be considered a victim of workplace discrimination. Consult your legal team to find out your state’s laws, and your HR team to make sure your policies will work. CBD policies for employers is another topic of consideration. Changing regulations make it increasingly important to have a team of experts on your side, helping you stay compliant and adapt your policies accordingly.

Flexible work policy

Job flexibility is a growing need for employees. From HRMorning:

According to a 2019 survey conducted by the International Workplace Group, 80% of respondents said they’d choose the job offer that came with flexibility over the one that did not. Furthermore, 85% of businesses responded that productivity actually increased in their workplace due to more flexibility. Source

Including a flexible work policy in your employee handbook will prepare you to manage these requests for remote work, flextime, etc. These policies will also ensure everyone is treated fairly.

A well-written flexible work policy defines

  • Types of job flexibility available to employees – These could include (or exclude) telecommuting, remote working, condensed workweeks, customized working hours, part-time positions, job sharing, or flexible vacation time.
  • Employee eligibility – Eligibility should be based on business needs. Who can take advantage of these options, and when?
  • Request and review process – Step by step, how does an employee ask for and receive approval on flexible job options? 

Internal complaint-resolution policy

An employee complaint resolution policy provides your employees with a constructive way to voice their concerns, allowing you to diffuse workplace distractions sooner and with less disruption. A written complaint-resolution policy that employees acknowledge with a signature can also help your company defend itself from legal ramifications should an issue erupt. 

An effective employee complaint-resolution policy

  • Identifies key points of contact
  • Outlines the steps an employee should take in order to file a complaint
  • Explains the investigation and resolution process

These policies are often left incomplete in employee handbooks, but can go a long way toward preventing HR headaches and reducing employer liabilities. Find out what else you could be overlooking. Connect with our team.

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